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Archive for July 17th, 2008

This article originally posted at citizenvox.org

Global warming is the singular environmental challenge of our generation. Some people claim you cannot be green without sacrificing economic development. Actually, we can create a greener energy future for Texas and reduce our electric bills at the same time by investing in our electric infrastructure.

This week the Texas Public Utility Commission met to decide on upgrading the power grid infrastructure to make sure that we can build new clean, renewable sources of energy in West Texas (where all the sun and wind is) and get it to the people in the major population centers in East Texas. Of three options, they chose the medium, compromise amount of investment. While not as large as we would have liked (the best option was an “electric superhighway” that would have saved Texans billions in their energy bills), the PUC chose to make a large investment in the clean energy future of our state.

Wind power in Texas is now a cheaper source of electricity than fossil fuel alternatives. Building newer transmission lines is the best way to quit our addiction to fossil fuels.

Want to learn more? Read our press release about our news conference, or read the study and policy paper here. You can also watch a video about renewable energy in Texas and how we can save $1.2 billion dollars here.

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Hybrid or used car?

Image from Flickr.com

Brendan I. Koerner over at Slate.com publishes the column “The Green Lantern,” where he investigates readers’ queries and quandries about how to be ‘green’. Column topics range from whether to buy your juice in a can or not from concentrate to what kind of tree soaks up the most carbon.

His most recent column discusses whether buying a certified pre-owned vehicle might be a greener choice than buying a new Prius given the energy that goes into the production of a new car. (Spoiler alert!) It’s not, but the column brings up many aspects of being environmentally-friendly with your car purchases beyond gas mileage that aren’t often part of the discussion, such as energy use during production, longevity of the car, and whether you could invest money you save by buying a less expensive car in energy efficiency measures in your home.

The Green Lantern also hosted a chat to answer more questions about hybrid cars, found here.

-Natalie Messer

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Why 350?

In the past few weeks I have come across 350.org‘s recent animated video several times, each time more impressed at its simplicity and effectiveness. In 90 seconds, without words, the short cartoon manages to convey what we are doing to cause global warming, why you should care, and what you can do about it.

350.org‘s message is clear and simple. Global warming is a universal problem and if we continue to go about our lives normally at 387 ppm we will suffer dire consequences (many of which we are already experiencing—melting ice caps, increased drought, and more incidences of disease). Though universal in scope, effects of global warming will vary by region. Texas leads the United States in greenhouse gas emissions and if we were a country, we would rank 7th in the world for our emissions.

BUT, it is not too late! …if we act now. Just like the stick figures in the video, what you do adds up. Every little thing helps. So, ride your bike to work, use canvas bags at the grocery store, write your congressman to support renewable energy sources, invest in more efficient appliances, and keep spreading the word: 350.

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